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What are the downsides to flood and drain?

Discussion in 'Marijuana Hydroponics' started by Surfer Joe, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. Jan 1, 2017 #1

    Surfer Joe

    Surfer Joe

    Surfer Joe

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    I am interested in trying the iws flood and drain system and it looks like a good idea but I was wondering what are the downsides, since all methods have plusses and minuses.
    I grow in soil pots. I tried a bubble bucket hydro grow once and it was so much work keeping the ph and the level in the bucket correct that I could never see me doing more than one bubble bucket at a time.

    Flood_and_Drain.jpg
     
  2. Jan 1, 2017 #2

    Lesso

    Lesso

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    Controlling ph in hydro is almost always the hardest part. You would want to have an ro filter for sure. The biggest downside with these systems is not always being able to grow multiple strains. Under any system that uses a communally applied solution and resivior, you are limited to using one strain or strains that have the same nutrient needs\ tolerance. Also, you would need to limit yourself to an all sativa or all indica grow due to thier variance of stretch. For example running a nutrient hungry sour diesel and a light feeder like satori would not be possible in this system as you would either burn the satori or starve the sour diesel. The plus is a relatively low maintenance system that grows plant extremely fast and exceptionally healthy when its dialed in. Proper monitoring of your solution is paramount to success in a ebb and flow system. I prefer my table to the buckets but its about the same thing.
     
  3. Jan 1, 2017 #3

    WeedHopper

    WeedHopper

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    I like 5 gallon DWC grows. You can feed separately.
     
  4. Jan 4, 2017 #4

    Hushpuppy

    Hushpuppy

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    Lesso laid it out correctly. I use a similar system that is hybridized, but the "hydro principals" apply across the spectrum of systems. It will require a goodly amount of work if for no other reason, it is a multi-plant, semi-commercial system. But it seems like no matter which way you grow, it takes some work to keep it optimized for the plants.

    While you are limited on which strains can be grown together, its not too big of an issue as you can plan around that easily enough. But you also have the increased risk of loss of all plants involved if a water, pH, or nutrient has a failure.

    I think if you have the room and want to go to that level of growing, that would be a good hydro method.
     
  5. Jan 4, 2017 #5

    Surfer Joe

    Surfer Joe

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    Thanks.
    If using a flood and drain system that recirculates the nutes, using clay pebbles and the buckets are 10L outer bucket and 6L inner pot, how would you figure out the timings for flood and drain?
    Do they vary during the life of the plant or between veg and flower? Does it depend on strain? How do people figure out how to set the timings?
    What is the theory?
    Submerge the roots long enough to uptake some nutes and then keep the roots in air as long as possible before drying out?
     
  6. Jan 5, 2017 #6

    Lesso

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    The timing is important. You should flood until the bucket is full then immediately drain. You dont want to drown them. In the individual bucket systems you would flood more frequently than my system. Thats because my roots are in substrate and dont dry out for a while but the buckets will have rootballs hanging in the air. In this system there is no dry period like in soil. Your roots should always be wet with nute solution. I cant tell you how many floods per day you need in the buckets but my tables flood every 12 hours in veg and every 8 hours in flower. Thats as dialed in as they can get. Any more and the plants show signs of over watering. You will need to see what other people have done in those systems and adjust to what your plants will tell you. Thats how people figure out the timing of floods. But in summary; dont let your roots drown for too long or dry out at all. I stand by flood and drain. I have tried soil, dwc, aeroponics, and nft. I have settled on my flood tables as the way i like to grow.
     
  7. Jan 5, 2017 #7

    Hushpuppy

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    If you aerate your solution you will not have to worry as much about overwatering but you still need to keep the roots wet. I would think 4-6 floods in a 24hr period for using clay pebbles as substrate. You will have to do some experimenting with timing to see what the plants like best. I would only do one strain at a time until you get used to working with that system.
     
  8. Jan 5, 2017 #8

    Lesso

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    Agreed
     
  9. Jan 5, 2017 #9

    Surfer Joe

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    Thanks everyone.
    If the idea is to flood and then drain immediately, when do the plants have a chance to uptake nutes if the roots are in the air the rest of the time?
     
  10. Jan 5, 2017 #10

    Lesso

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    They are ideally covered in a film of nutrients from the flooding.
     
  11. Jan 6, 2017 #11

    Hushpuppy

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    That flooding will take several minutes to go through a full cycle. That will give them what they need in nutes that get to them, and in the moisture left behind in the clay pebbles. You should be able to work out the timing so that just as the medium and roots are drying out, the system will turn back on again and start the wet/dry cycle over again.

    Now this is just a suggestion as I don't know the extent of your knowledge; I know a bunch of guys on another forum who are using this method but are using coco croutons as their medium, and they are having wild success with it. The only thing is with coco you have to do a little more to make it work well. I use it in my system and my plants and I both love it. I believe the coco croutons are the best hydro medium. It drains really well but retains more moisture and nutrients than the clay pebbles. The down-side though is that it is difficult to recycle.
     
  12. Jan 6, 2017 #12

    Lesso

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    Grower 13 uses chipped coco. He has a lot of success with it.
     
  13. Jan 6, 2017 #13

    Kraven

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    HP I recycle my coco, when you chop shake out as much off the root ball as you can, then let it dry. Then I will take hot / warm 6.0 pH water with 1/4 tsp of epsom salt per gallon and do a 24 hour soak to pull any remaining nutes out of the coco and reestablish the ion balance. I have found that the coco gets nice and broken in after 2 runs and I seem to have better results on "broke in" coco...just my 0.02.
     
  14. Jan 6, 2017 #14

    Hushpuppy

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    If I was running a larger grow then It would be worth recycling it. But I just run 3 plants at the most. I might try it again when I get back going. I just don't have a lot of space to store it so that it can build up.

    Kraven: Do you do anything about the roots that end up in the medium after harvesting and cleaning? or do you just leave the old root material in with the coco fibers?
     
  15. Jan 6, 2017 #15

    Kraven

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    I store my dry reusable coco in a black trash bag once it drys out completely. Yes after it drys, most of the tiny roots just dry up / or get washed out when I rinse it before the next run. You could easily recycle coco and any extra is great yard mulch that wont degrade for about 5 years. I have it around all my yard plants and it looks good. I have just found from my own personal experience that reusing coco is not too hard and it seems to perform better after each use. (it doesn't seem to hold onto Mg so tight, and I can dial my ppms back since I'm not competing with what the coco wants to hang onto.)
     
  16. Jan 6, 2017 #16

    yarddog

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    hushpuppy, I would like to add a little here. I keep a 5 gal bucket full of dried, used coco. good way to store it. i will pick out the biggest pieces of root, but i would say 95% of the roots stay in the coco when i reuse it. I have not noticed any concerns yet, on the fourth grow reusing the same coco.
     
  17. Jan 7, 2017 #17

    Surfer Joe

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    So if recycling is not important then the coco sounds like a good medium.
    Does that mean you would flood less often than with clay pebbles?
    What about nute buildup in the coco as opposed to clay pebbles?
    I would think that if clay pebbles are inert and don't get contaminated with nute buildup of salts, then you could better control the feeding of the plant.
     
  18. Jan 11, 2017 #18

    Hushpuppy

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    If you are growing a multiple plants and/or use large containers, then recycling may serve you quite well. I have used my extra in flower beds as Kraven said.
    With my setup, I only flood 2x in 24hr during flowering. During veg, I flood only once in 24hrs. But that will vary with the amount of medium you have in each pot. The best person to talk to on this particular system would be Kraven as I believe he uses a similar system.

    While coco is very good at holding nutrients in the substrate, the plants seem to like this as they are able to extract what they want when they want it. You can get mineral buildup in coco but typically, hydro systems have less issues of buildup because of the "flushing" nature of hydro. You still can and will get mineral buildup in and on the clay pebbles. They generally have to be washed after each run before reusing them.

    Something that I have found that helps a lot with preventing toxic buildup in hydro is using Hygrozyme in my solutions. It is a solution of enzymes (that smells just like beer) that attach themselves to unused elements and then drags them out of the medium into the solution. Then I change my rez solution every 2 weeks which removes all the excess elements that aren't used.
     
  19. Jan 19, 2017 #19

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    There are minimal downsides.

    Any strains that can't cope with what you are feeding....pull.


    Simple as that.


    Flood and drain is my favorite.


    Just make sure you don't flood the trays to quickly or your plants will fall over and spill medium out and make a mess.

    Research all you can...do some digging here. I have posted a **** ton on the subject.
     

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